Night parades, fires, delightfully… nasty customs and carnival fun flood Greece’s cities which are famous for their carnival revelries and the colorful celebrations of the most exculpated holiday of the year. Below, we gather some carnival destinations to help you choose where you can go!
Patras is indisputably the carnival’s capital in our country. During Carnival the whole city is turned to a broad space of fun and party. The events start on 17th January and last until Shrove Monday. Patras’ carnival is not only a particular event, but a whole of events which include dances, parades, hidden treasure hunt, children’s carnival etc.
and in the end, the ritual burning of the King of the Carnival on the pier of Saint Nikolas in Patras’ port.
Rethymno’s carnival is organized every year with lots of yearning and imagination.
Hidden treasure hunt
Hidden treasure hunt consists of about 70 groups and its preparation lasts the whole year. The organizing group has prepared the riddles and the obstacles which are meant to make the hunters’ lives difficult.
Fat Thursday in Rethymno
Fat Thursday here is celebrated with dance and lots of feasting in the centre of the Old Town. Everybody come together and dance to the rhythms of the music while the smell of the roasting meat is floating everywhere.
Groups’ dance on the last Saturday of the Carnival
It is one of the main events of Rethymno’s carnival which owes its success to the ingenious and amusing satiric sketches and wonderful joyful atmosphere which runs high.
The participants give their best surpassing their selves, raising their spirits, and the visitors’ spirits as well!!!
In Naousa, many interesting events take place, during the period of the Carnival. One of them is the revival of the custom “the Jannissaries and the Boules”.
The roots of the custom are found in the 18th century, when people of Naousa appeared in the carnival wearing wax masks, dancing to the tunes of songs which reminded them of freedom, in honor of the brave who resisted the Sultan in 1705.
The Carnival’s trademark is the daily revelry in the town’s streets
“Bourani” is a folk festival, but in fact it is the celebration of the phallus and stands for reproduction. This custom takes place on Shrove Monday, every year, in Tyrnavos. The town’s residents go to the chapel of the Prophet Elijah in the north of the town, in a free wide space. The marching is a litany, of which precede various groups of disguised who carry all the necessary for the liturgy.
When the litany reached the area of Prophet Elijah, there each group laid on the ground various foods and a big bottle with the shape of the phallus filled with wine or ouzo or tsipouro with water. At the same time, they lit a fire where “bourani” was mixed, a kind of a vegetable soup made of spinach and vinegar for a good taste.
The most delightful Carnival of Macedonia is the one that’s been set up in Kozani’s neighborhoods, where party is… literally on fire thanks to the famous custom of “Fani”.
while in the weekend of the Carnival massive parties are set in the central wayfarer and on Sunday afternoon the Great Float Parade begins. In the night all the Fani light at the same time
The neighborhoods give treats and wine for the town’s visitors!!!
Mostra is the most well-known carnival celebration of Chios and it takes place in Thymiana, a traditional village of stone masons and builders.
The custom’s roots are found in the Middle Ages, when pirates and corsairs were looting the islands’ coasts and stealing the residents’ harvest.
On Friday, the locals dressed as “koudounatoi” (=disguised), they bring Mostra, satiric carnival floats, in the village, performing various comical acts and wearing home made masks (“moutsounaries”).
In Matichochoria, Mesta, Olympous, but also in Pyrgi and Lithi, villages which preserve their Medieval features, every year on Shrove Monday, the custom of “Agas” revives. It’s about a peculiar court, where no one escapes without paying a fine!!!!
The custom of Agas finds its roots in the Ottoman Period and it is placed around 1830-1840. It was born to the exasperation of the residents’ towards Turkish judges’ behavior, who punished people of Chios for any reason.
Agas, escorted by his men, attempts entering the village from the old central iron gate. The guards resist vigorously, but in the end he manages entering and he is heading towards the central square, where he sits with “Chanouma” next to him, in order to start the trials. There is lots of humor, teasing and cheering from those who attend the trial, knowing that maybe their time to be judged and sentenced is coming!!!
The custom of Diplos revives every year in the large village of the northern lands, Volissos. As it was used to, since the very old times, on the last Sunday of the Carnival, when the feasts reached their peak, human chains with woven hands started singing from all the village’s neighborhoods and they ended up in the central square creating a huge chain, where the first in line sang a verse and all the rest repeated together.
In village’s square, even nowadays, a massive feast follows, while the guests are offered suma, roasted chic-peas and local sweets!!!
Shrove Monday afternoon, the scenery in Galaksidi of Fokida reminds of war zone. Locals, divided in groups, fight each other, aiming each other with flour and colour powder. The custom has become legendary and goes by the name of “flour war” or “alevromoutzouromata”.
The natural aftermath of this custom is that in the end Galaksidi is turned in to the most colourful town in the world.!!!
Xanthi is one of the most magnificent cities you can visit in Greece and especially during carnival you’ll love it for its customs and its beauties. If you’re there on the final weekend of the Carnival you’ll live unique moments with all Xanthi’s crowd getting out on the streets and fill them with colour, dance and music.
In the last Sunday of the Carnival, in Xanthi, on the bridge of Kosynthos river, the “burning of Tzaros” revives. It’s about a constructed human decoy, placed on holm-oak, which is burned and “exorcise the evil”. In that case, the evil is…the removal of the fleas in the summer. The custom was brought by the refugees from Samakov of Eastern Thrace and every year it revives by the residents of the homonymous settlement. The name “Tzaros” came from the peculiar sounds, created by the burning of the bush “tz,tz,tz…”. After the “burning of Tzaros”, a feast follows until the first morning hours.
On Shrove Monday it is worth watching the offertory of the Camel in Stavroupoli!!!
In Skyros, like in almost the entire Greece, carnival is a local celebration of joy which, in parallel with singing and dancing, preserve the common feature of the disguised revelers. Among the events of Skyros’ carnival, a triad which consists of the “old man”, the “girl” and the “Frank”, stands out as unique in the area of Greece.
The “old man” has his face covered with the skin of a little goat, he wears a thick black cape, white woven breeches and he has tied on his waist 2-3 lines of heavy weighed bells. As he walks in a dancing rhythm, the bells sound melodious.
The “girl” is the old man’s companion. She is dressed in traditional local clothes, with white being the dominant color in order to be in a full contrast with the old man’s black color and she has her face covered too. She dances around the “old man”, as he walks, making way for him or trying to help him and rest him.